Dear Dairy


Milk, cheese, eggs – do they do a body good? Vegans will say no, but dairy-lovers swear by the protein and calcium. I’m not here to tell you one way or another, but rather to list of some of the pros and cons of consuming dairy.

- Conventional wisdom says we need to eat enough milk, cheese and yogurt to get calcium for our teeth and bones, and these foods have the highest amount of calcium.
- Many high-calcium vegetables (such as chard, kale and sweet potato) also contain oxalic acid, which hinders calcium absorption.
- Dairy products are a great source of protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B12 and D.
- Eggs are a great source of protein and other nutrients, but are high in cholesterol.
- The probiotics contained in yogurt and kefir are beneficial to intestinal health. Yogurt is high in calcium, iodine, phosphorus and B-vitamins. Make sure you get low-fat, low-sugar varieties made from hormone-free milk.

- The United States consumes more dairy than any other country and has one of the highest osteoporosis rates. Osteoporosis is often caused by poor lifestyle choices – lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol, and a bad diet – more so than simply a lack of calcium. Physical activity is vital to bone health.
- The most important time to consume calcium is in childhood, when bones are developing. In adulthood, excessive calcium will not make much of a difference to bone health.
- Excessive protein (dairy is high in protein) and salt can hinder calcium absorption.
- Many animal proteins actually require calcium to digest properly – and much of this calcium is taken from your bones.
- Dairy products – unless they are nonfat – contain saturated fat and cholesterol.
- There’s always the problem of the animal-products industry. It’s no secret that factory farms mistreat animals and give them hormones and chemicals that are unhealthy for us. If you do eat dairy, always go organic and ethical.

Is dairy right for you? Only you can make that decision. Educate yourself and listen to your body.

Source: Emedicinehealth
Image: Nate Steiner